Fatalities Caused by Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice is one of the leading causes of accidental death in the U.S. When a patient dies because of negligent care, their family should be aware that they have legal rights to assert. At Breakstone, White & Gluck, we are ready to ensure that your interests are protected to the fullest extent at all times as we assist you in pursuing a wrongful death claim. Our Boston wrongful death attorneys have guided many families through the legal process with care and compassion. We understand the specific issues that may arise under medical malpractice laws in Massachusetts, and we can retain knowledgeable experts on your behalf. Contact us today to start learning about how we can assist your family following a fatality caused by medical malpractice.Understanding Your Next Steps After a Fatality Caused by Medical Malpractice
Massachusetts has a specific statute that governs medical malpractice actions. Your attorney will need to be familiar with the procedures in this statute, which are different from those in an ordinary personal injury claim. Within 15 days of the defendant’s response to the action, for example, the plaintiff’s lawyer must provide an offer of proof to a special tribunal. This panel consists of a justice of the state superior court, a licensed physician who is experienced in the field of medicine in which the action arises, and an attorney licensed in the State of Massachusetts. This tribunal must determine that there is sufficient evidence of malpractice in order for the claim to proceed. If the tribunal decides that the plaintiff has not provided sufficient evidence of liability, the plaintiff can only proceed with his or her lawsuit if he or she provides a $6,000 bond to the court clerk to repay the defendant’s legal costs if the case is ultimately unsuccessful.
In addition to the laws specific to medical malpractice actions, Massachusetts has certain procedures that govern wrongful death lawsuits. The personal representative of the decedent’s estate must bring the action on the estate’s behalf. This is the individual who is appointed in the decedent’s will to handle his or her affairs at the time of the decedent’s death. If there is no individual appointed in the decedent’s estate plan, the court can appoint someone to fulfill this role. Any damages obtained in the action will be distributed to the decedent’s estate. The surviving heirs of the decedent can also seek compensation for the loss of their loved one’s companionship, love, and support.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiff’s lawyer must show that the defendant doctor did not use the appropriate level of care at the time of the medical negligence and that the decedent lost his or her life as a result. This standard is defined as the same protocols and practices that a medical professional with similar training and experience in the same area of practice would use. For example, perhaps the defendant is a cardiologist who failed to properly recognize signs of a heart attack when a competent cardiologist would have. In situations in which the decedent had pre-existing medical conditions, it may be challenging to establish that the defendant did not use appropriate care and that this failure caused the untimely death. Our Boston attorneys will be able to consult with experts who can help analyze the case and pinpoint the areas in which the defendant fell short of the appropriate standards. We also can use expert testimony to explain the impact of the defendant’s lapse on the patient’s health. The relative credibility of the experts for the plaintiff and the defendant often goes a long way in determining the outcome of a case.Seek Advice From a Medical Malpractice Attorney in the Boston Area
There is no amount of money that can truly compensate you for an unexpected and untimely fatality caused by medical malpractice. A compensation award can, however, help your family cope with the financial impact of the loss. At Breakstone, White & Gluck, we have provided dedicated legal counsel to families in wrongful death claims based on medical malpractice, car crashes, and other accidents in Boston, Cambridge, Waltham, Lowell, Newton, Somerville, Quincy, Dedham, Norwood, Brookline, Attleboro, Barnstable, Brockton, Plymouth, Worcester, Lawrence, and Springfield. Call us at 1-800-379-1244 or contact us online to get started.